Making Author Webpages

My mother needed a webpage to feature her new book, My Flint Hills Childhood.  Since I feel comfortable using WordPress, I decided to set her up with a blog here.  It was really easy to get a nice looking site for her using the many layouts and designs that WordPress has available.  I clicked through most of them after I put in some basic information, just to see how it would look on the screen. 

I made sure it showed her book cover and a short description of the book so that’s the first thing someone sees when they go to her webpage on WordPress.  Then I started adding pages with the info that visitors would want.  So far, I have:

Then I put on a badge (widget) from the Blurb website, so people can just click on it to preview her book.

Go take a look at it.  I’m pretty pleased with the results.   Actually, I was so pleased, that I immediately set up another one for my sister, Cynthia Ross, to promote her book of children’s poetry as well as her performances as Gene Stratton-Porter.  It’s not as detailed yet as my mother’s, but I’ll keep adding to it.  Check it out here.

Fascinated with Making Books

Oh, no.  I’ve gotten hooked on Blurb.  I found it while looking for a place to easily put my mother’s memories into a paperback book.  I’d made a hardback version for her on Photoworks, but the $85 price was just too high for the rest of the family to have copies.  Her book is almost ready to come out on Blurb.  In the meantime, I started Dad’s book since Father’s Day was approaching.  It also is almost done with both books needing a few more vintage family photos to wrap it up.

The versatility of Blurb’s BookSmart software intrigued me, so I gathered my photos of my favorite New Hampshire place and made a photo book of it.  You can see it here.  They have it set up so you can preview the first fifteen pages. 

Photographs of Lake…
By Virginia Allain

I’m hoping to sell a number of them to the summer residents of Lake Forest to raise funds for the local ambulance service.  Every year Lake Forest has a craft fair, golf tournament and raffle to benefit the ambulance service.

My first book using Blurb's print-on-demand publishing.
My first book using Blurb’s print-on-demand publishing.

Now all sorts of book ideas are dancing around in my head.  First I hope to gather enough photos from my niece’s wedding to make a photo book for her.  Then I want to work on a photo book of the four-day writing workshop I attended last summer.  Other books I could make: Baby Sandhill Crane Photos, Butler County Profiles (the writing of my mom and sister, Cynthia Ross), a flower photo book, a collection of my essays and poems, and a tribute book to my sister, Shannon Hyle.

I’m going to be busy, I can see.

Working on a Book

My aunt published several books on Lulu and then my sister published her book of children’s poetrys through a small publisher.  Their successes provided inspiration for me to get going a a project that I’d been mulling over in my mind for some time.  My mom, Gail Martin, has quite a stock of family memories posted on the Our Echo website.  I kept thinking what a nice family keepsake it would be to get them into book form.  Finally with Mother’s Day approaching, I jumped in to work on it.  It’s not finished yet and I may have put the cart-before-the-horse.  The first one will be a hardback copy for mom, but then I need to make it into a paperback copy so it’s more affordable for everyone else.


Clarence McGhee familyI’m up to 76 pages of her essays and also old family photos so far on the Photoworks site.  I had some credits there from winning some of their photo contests, so they will cover mom’s copy of the book.  Now I’m wondering if I should move all the photos and text over to where my aunt published her books.  They put out a more reasonably priced paperback, but it means learning their template and publishing quirks.  I do love it that these sites let you put together a book without asking for any money up front.

Actually on Photoworks, I have the option to share the book online with anyone to view it for free.  Of course that’s not nearly as satisfying as holding the actual copy of the book in your hands and having it on your bookshelf for reading at any time.  If you’d like to preview the book, click here to see it.  I’ll be starting soon on transferring it to where it should be available at a much lower price than $89 (Photoworks’ price).  The lulu copy will be a paperback, but should be the same content.

I Love Books and Libraries

Dad - reading an old favorite
Dad - reading an old favorite

I made a good career choice when I picked librarianship.  It kept me fascinated for 30 years.  All aspects of library work from children’s librarian to reference librarian, middle management to library director, offered new challenges and rewards.

Even though I’m retired, I still “brake for libraries.”  There’s some irrisistable draw to an old Carnegie library building filled with books.  Our whole family loves to read.  Here are my articles on books, reading and libraries:

My family has a number of articles about their love of reading.  Take a look at these:

How to Personalize a Bookshelf by Gail Martin …My Wall of BooksLook Who I Met In The ArchivesA lot of Lincoln is on our bookshelvesMy Parents Had Bookshelves Too

From the Bookshelf Indeed by Carol Garriott …Life Behind the Circulation DeskWhat is it About HarryNew Book Out

Life Without Georgette by Shannon Hyle …Falling in Love Among the BookshelvesMy Bookshelves

She Was a Woman Before Her Time by Cynthia Ross …Books, Books & More Books

My Sister Is Celebrating Her First Book of Poetry

I’m excited for Cindy and inspired with what she’s accomplishing.  She had some angst during the publishing process, but now the book is coming out very shortly.  It’s called Ride a Stick Horse by Cynthia Ross.  The nostalgic poems of childhood illustrated with old family photos make a perfect match.

She’s already been featured on the Kansas Author’s Club website.  You can see it in their November listings on their website here.  The book will be available on Amazon soon.